I have been “burning the candle at both ends” and some in the middle for the past month and it finally caught up with me in the form of a cold. This cold has knocked me down and out of my regular fitness routine and it has also taught me a valuable lesson about balance.
One month ago, I started a new job. Now, I am a self-described “All In” person, which means I give 100% effort to what I am involved in. So when I started the new job, I was “All In”, giving it 100% effort during the day. Meanwhile trying to keep up with the other activities I had become involved with over the past 14 months: involvement with several non-profits (serving as a board member or as a volunteer), keeping up a regular fitness schedule, reading a number of blogs, posting to various social media sites, continuing to facilitate a weekly meeting of executives in career transition, and being actively involved in my church. This very full schedule meant that something had to give, and I initially chose sleep as the area where I could cut back. I knew that others routinely got up at 5:00 AM to get in their workout and start their day, so I thought why not me. I got up at 5:00 AM and worked out, did the job thing during the day, worked on all the other activities at night, heading to bed a little later every night. The first two weeks of this went well, or so I thought. Then it hit, like a strong gust on a clear day, a cold, a common everyday cold.
I have not had a cold for several years, and I am fastidious about washing hands and taking other precautions to minimize my exposure and risk, so what happened? The only thing I can figure out is that I had deprived myself of the essential rest that I needed and became otherwise vulnerable. I recognized right away that I needed more rest and started going to bed earlier and let my morning fitness routine go in favor of a quicker recovery (plus knowing that I needed to let my body fight off the intruding cold). One week later, the cold is almost gone, I am more well rested, and I am wiser for the experience. Specifically, I have realized that I require 6 to 7 hours of sleep per night. In order to accomplish that I am going to have to re-prioritize things and likely let some things go, and since my fitness is a priority, it is going to have to be one of the other activities. I will take time this coming weekend to do this prioritization, make some hard decisions and communicate those choices with the people most directly impacted.
So why is this part of Fitness Friday? Well, quite simply, it is because your fitness relies on balance and not over-extending yourself. That is not to say you should not challenge yourself and reach for higher goals, just don’t head out on your first run and decide that this time you are going for 26.2 miles. As for me, I am going to strive for better balance in all my activities, including getting the right amount of rest, continuing to eat well, and get back into my regular workout schedule.